Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What God Forgets!

I read a fantastic devotional from Joel Osteen ministries that is worth a moment of your time. It's entitled, "What God Forgets."

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE
"I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more"
(Isaiah 43:25, NIV).

Did you know that the very moment you repent of your sin, God does not remember it anymore? Why is it that so many people constantly focus on their past mistakes and wrongdoings? Let me challenge you today—stop remembering what God has already forgotten! Start receiving His mercy and let the past be the past.

In order to receive the new things God wants to do in your life, you have to let go of the old. Once you ask for God´s forgiveness, quit dwelling on your mistakes and failures. As long as you´re looking back, you will never be able to move forward. Maybe the past just keeps coming back to your mind, but do you know who keeps bringing it up? The enemy. He´s called the accuser of the brethren. His goal is to keep you focused on your past, feeling guilty and condemned. But Romans 8 tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Don´t follow the enemy down the path of dwelling on your failures. Let the past be the past. Receive God´s mercy today so you can move forward in the life of blessing He has in store for you!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Heavenly Father, thank You for cleansing me and making me new. I choose to turn away from my past and receive Your grace, mercy, and forgiveness today. Lead me and guide me forward in the good plan You have for me. In Jesus´ Name. Amen.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thoughts About Kingdom Culture


Once again, I've noticed something this summer... weeds grow without necessitating water, food or attention. Weeds overtake lawns, gardens & mulch by crowding out whatever is in its path. I can pull weeds out, use weed spray & take all of the necessary precautions but they always seem to find a way to invade my yard! If you're going to have a weed-free lawn & garden, you will need to stay focused! Over the last few weeks I've been talking about establishing a Kingdom Culture in our lives. If you want to build a Kingdom-centered life, you need to be ever-aware of the weeds that will grow in your life & try to crowd out the Kingdom. It's the little things in our every day life that make the difference. Let's defeat the weeds in our lives this summer by establishing a Kingdom culture in our lives!

Here are a few thoughts about culture from Lyall Mercer...
"While every nation and every community has an overall culture, within the larger entity are a multitude of smaller units – families, companies, organizations, minority groups, government entities, churches and others - each with their own microculture. A revelation of the importance of intentionally creating the right microculture for our unit is essential for the unit’s success.
Developing the correct microculture leads to power, influence, success, protecting our unit against negative forces of the wider general culture and in many cases bringing positive change to the wider culture. For some units – like the church – its very survival depends on developing a counter-culture to the world around it.
Culture is formed by design or default – and too many microcultures are created by default. When we fail to implement the culture we want, we end up getting the culture we don’t want – and that culture becomes so embedded in the life of the unit, that it ends up being the controlling force for the future. When a negative or damaging culture becomes this controlling, it can be impossible to change and the result can lead to total destruction of the unit – be it family, organisation, company or church."
(click here for more of this article)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Kingdom Culture- "Authority"

Yesterday I shared a message about the DNA of the Kingdom of God. As Kingdom people, we need to understand that our relationship with God is established by accepting His agreement with us that is established upon the work of Jesus Christ. (John 3:16) Our future success in life is dependent upon our decision to submit to the authority of God and His Word in every area of our lives. Take a moment to read this story (click here) and consider these two scriptures below.

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7
"I have given you authority …to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you"
(Luke 10:19, NIV)

When you walk in agreement with God's Word, you begin to understand that he has given you all the power and authority that you need to overcome every obstacle you may face in life! In this Kingdom culture, it means that you are able to do what God has called you to do. You can accomplish the Kingdom goals that God has for your life. You have the ideas, the creativity, and the talent to be successful. As you seek first God's Kingdom, his dominion & authority in your life, He will accomplish His purposes in and through you! (Matthew 6:33) We are protected and promoted as we stay under the authority of God's Word! When we submit to God's authority, we receive His authoritative power!

God has already lined up the right people to come across your path. He's leading you to the right place where His provision lies. He’s already lined up the right opportunities for you to be positioned for success. You have everything you need to live a life of victory, not a average or mediocre life, but a life of excellence, favor and fruitfulness. You may feel like giving up and following your own path, but don't! Stay in faith, it’s just a matter of time—victory is on the way. Don’t grow content in mediocrity, stay under God's authority, honor His Word, and He will help you overcome and excel in this life that He has given to you!

Rise up in today and begin to make a declaration of faith that says, “I am submitted to God's authority in my life so I now receive His authority to overcome the enemy! I am more than a conquerer and can overcome any obstacle. (Romans 8:37) I trust in my God to provide for me, to prosper me & to position me for greatness in His Kingdom.”

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Part 3, Kingdom Culture- Kingdom DNA

THE CULTURE OF THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD
Are established upon a disagreement with God’s Word & focused on these 3 things: PASSION -- POSSESSION-- POSITION
1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV)

What Is God’s Kingdom?
God’s kingdom is not of this WORLD (John 18:36, Luke 17:20-21), it’s TRANSFORMATIONAL (1 Cor. 4:20, Rom. 12:2), RELATIONAL & SPIRITUAL. (Romans 14:17) It’s wherever Jesus is KING! (Matthew 6:10)

How Do You Know That You Are Building a Kingdom Culture (DNA) In Your Life?
1. Kingdom People Put GOD First. (Matthew 6:33, Luke 14:15-23)
2. Kingdom People Put OTHERS First. (Romans 12:10, Luke 14:1-14)
3. Kingdom People Live From A Place Of AGREEMENT. (Amos 3:3, 1 Cor. 1:10, Matthew 12:25, Matthew 18:19)
4. Kingdom People Are People Who Understand AUTHORITY. *read to Matthew 8:5-13

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. Romans 13:1-2
5. Kingdom People Are People of FAITH.
“ Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)
”But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
6. Kingdom People Are Not VICTIMS, they are more than CONQUERERS.
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 (NKJV)
No weapon formed against you shall prosper... This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD... Isaiah 54:17 (NKJV)
7. Kingdom People Understand That FAITHFULNESS is FRUITFULNESS. *read to Matthew 25:14-30
“When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father... 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit...” John 15:8,16 (NLT)
8. Kingdom People Are People of LOVE.
“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” 1 John 4:11-12

Friday, July 17, 2009

It's the end of the world as we know it...

Had the honor to hang out with our rock'in youth ministry last night. Pastor Jake, Kim & the entire team are doing an incredible job & had over 100 teens in the house. We welcomed our 100th person to the Kingdom of God last night, which was incredible! Pastor Jake asked me to talk about the end times. The end times is very complex so I shared just a few points. It's good to remind ourselves that Jesus did say that He would return so that we are busy doing what He told us to do & ready for Him. Here are the notes from what I shared...

“Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, 21 or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.” 2 Peter 1:20-21 (NLT)

Will The World End? Answer: YES
2 I want you to remember what the holy prophets said long ago and what our Lord and Savior commanded through your apostles. 3 Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. 4 They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again?...
 8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”
2 Peter 2:2-9

When Will The World End? Answer: NO IDEA
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father... 42"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come... 44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Matthew 24:36-44 (NIV)

How Should We Live Our Lives Today? Answer: LIKE IT COULD HAPPEN TODAY!
“The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:7-11 (NIV)

For more information regarding what we believe about the end times, click here!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

One Of My Dreams!

One of the dreams of my life is to take my family to Australia to experience the outback & the Hillsong Conference. God has given me a great respect & love for Hillsong church. I have very few dreams & desires that don't center around the Kingdom Of God. One of my greatest desires is to help create a house of healing & hope, much like Hillsong, right here in amishland. The spirit & DNA of that church (house) is such a big part of who we are & what we do here at this house (Freedom Life). Check out the highlights from this great conference. Experience for a moment what we will have in our community one day! (minus the cool Australian accents)

Hillsong Conference Highlights 2009 from Hillsong Church on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tear Down The Walls- Hillsong United

This past weekend our worship team rocked the house with this incredible song from Hillsong United! If you missed it or enjoyed this magnificent song like so many of us did, feel free to enjoy the video below. The entire C.D. will be available in our bookstore this weekend. I pray that you let God tear down the walls in your life this week & that you bring the Kingdom to someone!

Kingdom Culture- "Excellence"

I wanted to share a devotional on a topic that needs a greater place in all of our lives. I'm referring to the idea of "excellence." As believers we should work hard at having a culture of genuine authenticity & progressive excellence. This past weekend I shared a word picture that I believe illustrates the need for excellence in our church family & everyday lives. When people walk into your life & into our church are they walking into a dirty convenience store bathroom or into a 5 star resort. We should work hard at honoring others by presenting ourselves & the message of Jesus in an authentic & thoroughly excellent manner. Let's prefer, honor & bless others with excellence! A Spirit of excellence is part of the Kingdom culture that God has established & expects from us. Enjoy the devotional!

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE
"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10a, NAS)

TODAY'S WORD from Joel and Victoria
David was a man of excellence. The Bible tells us that David played his harp “skillfully.” He didn’t just play it, he played it with excellence. When he slung the stone that defeated Goliath, it wasn’t an accident. It wasn’t just a lucky break. David had practiced the slingshot year after year out in the shepherd’s fields. He was extremely talented with that slingshot. Some experts say he could hit a small bull’s eye more than 100 feet away!

In the same way, if we want to see God’s hand of promotion, we need to live excellently. In this day and age, if you’re not growing, then you’re at a disadvantage. If you’re at the same skill level this year as you were five years ago, then you are falling behind. It’s time to step it up a notch. Whatever you are doing, do it with all your might! Don’t get complacent. Keep growing; keep learning; keep improving. As you do your best to live excellently, God will bless the fruit of your labor. He’ll pour out His “super” on your natural and cause you to rise up higher into the life of victory He has in store for you!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father in heaven, I choose to live in excellence. I want to bring You glory in all that I do. Thank You for promoting me as I dedicate every area of my life to You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Kingdom Culture, Part 2- The DNA of the Kingdom

Below are the notes from this past weeks message. I want to encourage you to represent the King (Jesus) & His Kingdom well this week. We need to remember that we bring the Kingdom of Heaven to others when we put God first, put others first (honor) & live from a place of agreement. I hope that you have a fantastic week & that you make a difference in someone's life for eternity this week!

How Do You Know That You Are Building a Kingdom Culture (DNA) In Your Life?

1. Kingdom People Put GOD First.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
*see Luke 14:15-23

2. Kingdom People Put OTHERS First.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10 (NIV)
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." Mark 9:35
*see Luke 14:1-14

3. Kingdom People Live From A Place Of AGREEMENT.

Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? Amos 3:3
[ Divisions in the Church ] I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 1 Corinthians 1:10
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. Matthew 12:25


"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:19

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Kingdom Culture, Part 1- A Tale Of Two Kingdoms

This past weekend I shared a message entitled, "A Tale of Two Kingdoms." The Kingdoms (value system) of this world is founded on disagreements with God. I encouraged everyone to make a choice to be in agreement with God & His Word. Jesus taught us that agreement is the place of power. I want to encourage you to make a decision to allow the Kingdom of God to be established in your life & your heart today by coming into agreement with His Word & by turning from the temptation of focusing on passion, possession & position. Seek first God's Kingdom and his right-ness, & He'll provide for everything else.

The King of the Kingdoms of this world is SATAN
The Culture of his Kingdom is simply this: (see Matthew 4:1-17)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV)

Do not love not the world (its kingdoms or value system)
Lust of the flesh (temptation to feel-passion)
Lust of the eyes (temptation to have-possession)
Pride of life (temptation to be-position)


“From that time Jesus began to preach,crying out, Repent (change your mind for the better, heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17 (AMP)

What Is God’s Kingdom?

“Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven...” Philippians 3:19-21 (NIV)

1. God’s kingdom is not of this WORLD.
(it’s not political, national, or governmental)
”Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom... my Kingdom is not of this world.” John 18:36 (NLT)
 “Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, 21nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." Luke 17:20-21 (NIV)

2. God’s Kingdom is TRANSFORMATIONAL.
”For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” 1 Cor. 4:20
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Rom. 12:2

3. God’s Kingdom is SPIRITUAL & RELATIONAL.
“For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17 (NLT)

4. God’s Kingdom is wherever Jesus is KING!
”...your kingdom come, your will be done.” Matthew 6:10 (NIV)

So What Is The Culture Of The Kingdom Of God?
1. Put God FIRST.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Two Great Books for Dads

Below are two fantastic books that every Dad should read. They are free & online. The first book is one that I gave to the men of our church on Father's day & is a must read.
YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES by John Eldridge- click here
The second book is an excellent book that will challenge every guy. It is worth the few minutes that it will take you to read. Take a few moments & check it out.
PASTOR DAD by Mark Driscoll- click here
There is a wussification of men, not just in the world but in the church. God has called us to be men of integrity, character, passion, sacrifice & leadership. I pray that as you read these two books that you will be challenged to become the man that God has called you to be!